It’s so easy. He hits you, you leave. Why would you stay? Why would anyone? Right?
That’s what we always tell ourselves. We think we know.
But then we watched in fascinated horror as Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice hit the screaming woman twice, the second time knocking her unconscious. I'm not linking to it here. Look it up yourself if you want. Watching the video seems like victimizing the woman all over again. The Ravens released Rice, and then the cycle of victim-blaming began.
Because the woman who was his fiancée in the video is his wife now, and she took to social media to furiously ask people to leave them alone, to stop ruining their lives.
People blamed Rice for hitting a woman. They blamed the fiancée for sticking with a man who hit her.
And into the social media flurry stepped writer Beverly Gooden, who wanted to talk about why she stayed in her own violent situation. She took to twitter with the hashtag #WhyIStayed.
And, from everywhere, women – and some men – started tweeting their own reasons: there was no physical abuse, only verbal; there was no evidence; there was no money; there was no way out.
And, then, #WhyILeft began, another tide of stories, including, “When I realized I was waiting for him to die so I could finally be free.”
— Jen Ingerson (@JingersonNeuro) September 10, 2014
So many stories with so much in common, but each unique. And, until you have your own story – and hopefully, you never will -- you never really know.